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The Basics of Trademark Law

Whether you have a service business or have your own product line, there is probably some part of your business that is unique. That makes it necessary for you to consider obtaining a trademark.

Typically, a trademark is any symbol, expression, word, sign or logo that specifically identifies your specific product or service and is unique to your business or service. A trademark protects the branding or the name of the product. To be trademark eligible the name or expression must be unique rather than generic.

Obtaining a trademark gives you several benefits and protects you and your business in the marketplace.

First, a trademark illustrates to consumers and clients that you own this product or service. Second, since you register a trademark with the federal government, you can enforce your rights regarding your trademarked product or service in federal courts. That means you can defend your rights anywhere in the U.S. no matter what size business you own. Last, having a registered trademark protects your product or business from foreign competition and is a beginning step in establishing your international rights in case your business goes international.

There are two types of trademarks. Trademarks are used by the owners to identify physical commodities which may be natural or manufactured and which are sold and distributed in the marketplace. Service marks are used to identify services and their providers.

Both types of trademarks are obtained through an application process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application can be obtained online and filed on the internet using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Prior to filing the application, you may want to use TEAS to search existing trademarks online to ensure what you want to trademark has not already been trademarked by another company. Whether you undertake this step or not, staff members of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will undertake this search as part of your application process to ensure your trademark will not infringe on the rights of another.

Once you have filed an application for trademark, you may have to wait for up to six months to be granted the trademark. Registered trademarks last forever unlike patents and copyrights which expire. However, you can lose your trademark if you fail to use it, if the term or name loses its meaning or through improper licensing such as simply giving it away.

Once you obtain approval of your trademark from the federal government, you may use the symbol in all your print and online business pieces.

Obtaining a registered trademark should be part of your overall business plan so that your business benefits from the protections that it offers.

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Trademarks In The News

Craft-Beer Brewers Open Taps With Trademarks Soaring to Record

(Bloomberg) -- Craft beer lovers in the U.K. have never had so many choices on tap. Load Error The number of trademarks registered for beer soared to a record 2,372 in 2017, an increase of 20 percent ...

Published:  Sun, 21 Oct 2018 16:00:30 GMT

UK beer trademarks rise to record high: report

The number of new trademarks registered for beer in the UK increased by 20% last year to reach a record high of 2,372 (up from 1,983 in 2016), according to a report released today by professional serv...

Published:  Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:01:00 GMT

China Trademarks: Should You Register A Movie Title as a Trademark

In the entertainment industry, documenting a film's chain of title is extremely important. It's how you show that the putative owners of the film rights do in fact own those rights, and it is essentia...

Published:  Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:15:00 GMT

Number of beer trademarks jump to record high thanks to craft boom

The number of new trademarks for beer brands rose by 20% in 2017 due to the craft beer boom, new research shows. Law firm RPC said the number of trademarks registered for beer reached a record high of ...

Published:  Mon, 22 Oct 2018 08:38:00 GMT

Aston Martin Trademarks Valhalla For New Hybrid Hypercar

Announced in March 2016 as Project AM-RB 001, the Valkyrie will start production in 2019 with 1,130 horsepower. Coming courtesy of twelve cylinders, natural aspiration, and KERS, the output of the mid ...

Published:  Sun, 21 Oct 2018 08:30:00 GMT

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